If you have ever tried to take video with your phone, you know how hard it can be. Unless you have the hands of a surgeon, they easily become a jittery mess. Stabilisers have existed for quite some time, but are often expensive and designed for cameras rather than phones. However, in recent years we have seen some stabilising options come up. Most recently, the X-Cam Creative Sight 2 has come out. Part gimbal, part photography stick, how does it function as an image stabiliser?
The X-Cam Sight 2 is by no means an ugly device, but it isn’t the most stylish device out there. The white body is fairly bulky, and since there is nothing like a telescopic arm, it doesn’t fold away very small. In a bag, it doesn’t take up too much space, but this won’t fit in your pockets unless you’re wearing cargo shorts. At the very least it’s relatively comfortable to hold, and balances relatively well in your hand.Slightly disappointing is the actual point where the arm joins the body. If you aren’t careful opening up the arm, it could easily break at the join. If you open it slowly then it’s not an issue, but this is worth keeping in mind. Also, the clamp for the phone is very particular about where you can place your handheld. Again, not a major issue, but adds a level of fuss in the setup which should be avoidable.
Slightly disappointing is the actual point where the arm joins the body. If you aren’t careful opening up the arm, it could easily break at the join. If you open it slowly then it’s not an issue, but this is worth keeping in mind. Also, the clamp for the phone is very particular about where you can place your handheld. Again, not a major issue, but adds a level of fuss in the setup which should be avoidable.
Regarding features, the X-Cam has just what you need. There are no complex controls, no companion app, very little to distract from what the machine is. You charge it with a standard mini-USB (which is provided) and wait for the LED to turn green when full. This gives you around five hours of continuous use. After you place your phone, simply press the on button and it begins to keep your phone stable. Press the button again and the whole thing turns off. The button is at the top of the handle, in a location which makes sure you can’t turn it off accidentally.
Aside from the gimbal that helps keep the phone straight, there is one other feature. Connecting your phone via Bluetooth to the stabiliser gives you pitch control with a small switch. You can only pitch up or down, but this already gives it far more functionality than most phone camera peripherals. You can even take photos by pressing in like you would on a gamepad, but to change between photos and video, or even opening the camera, you need to do it via the phone. It’s recommended to go into photo mode first so save on awkward setup.
- Pitch Axis Angle Range : ±175º
- Horizontal Shaft Angle : ±55º
- Pitch Axis Control Angle : ±45º
- Battery : 1000mAh Li-Po
- Charging Time : 2-3 hours
- Maximum Power : <= 10w
- Working Duration : 2-5Hours(Depending on weight of phone)
- Material : PC Engineered plastic
- Phone Compatibility : Smart phone with screen size smaller than 5.5″
- Size : 150mm x 48mm x 54mm (L x W x H)
- Weight : 189g
Due to its simplicity, it’s critical that the device functions like it the company says it should. Thankfully, it performs very well, removing a great deal of camera shake I have when I take photos just by hand. Taking videos works very well too, so long as you don’t pan the phone too quickly. The pitch control works well too, but there is a delay of around half a second between input and action. This is probably down to the Bluetooth connection more than anything else. Also, you will probably have to press a couple of times to get a response when taking a picture or starting a video. It works, but could do slightly better.
For extended use, the whole contraption starts to feel a little heavy, so this is best used in short bursts. Those who would like something more suited for longer videos should look into getting a full camera instead.
The switch to control the pitch is quite slow, and using it too quickly results in a jittery motion, but it doesn’t break. For optimal use, make sure you make small, gentle movements with the phone.
I previously mentioned that you can easily break the swivel arm at the join if you open it too quickly. In general this isn’t the sturdiest contraption. It can take a few knocks and doesn’t disintegrate when held in a bag with other stuff, but in operation it becomes very delicate.
In terms of gyroscope response the stabiliser works really well, keeping the image straight even when moving around very aggressively. For an entry-level gimbal device this is very impressive.
For those who want to get a little bit more out of their filming, this is a really good first device. The controls are simple to use, and the difference is immediately noticeable when you begin filming or taking photos. The whole device is basic, which has both positive and negative connotations, and if not treated well could fall apart quite easily. Overall though, for it’s price it’s a good investment for those who want to improve their filming skills without immediately jumping into professional equipment.